Cadair Idris Wild Camp February 2016

Location: Cadair Idris, Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Distance: 12km

Date: February 2016

Kit: DuoMid + Exped Downmat 7 Ultra Light + Wilderness Down Quilt

Twelfth Wild Camp

After a fairly lengthy drive and a quick pub stop for a full english and a pint, Tim and I parked up at the carpark near Minffordd to begin the assent of Cadair Idris. Without a route planned as such, we followed the main footpath out of the carpark that heads up to a small cafe. Just next to the cafe is a 3D diagram of Cadair Idris and the circular route that isn’t marked on the OS map. The route covers the three main peaks of Cadair so we decided to follow it anti-clockwise.

The initial section through the woods following a stream up to the base of Cadair is steep but soon opens out to the Cadair horseshoe. The path forks off to the right and steadily climbs up to Myndd Moel. The weather was just about perfect with a slight Easterly wind (20-30mph) and bright sunshine. Reaching the first summit of Myndd Moel dusk was setting in so we picked up our pace to make the final climb up to Penygadair.

On reaching the summit about 4:30-5pm we caught up with three young lads dressed in tracksuits, no kit, water, torches etc. They all looked cold and worn out. I asked them which way they were going and it transpired they wanted to continue anti-clockwise around the horseshoe, the route we’d planned for the next day. They looked a little shocked when I told them they had perhaps 60mins before it went dark! So I suggested they went back the way they came, considering they didn’t have a map or any kit, that was the safer option.

We dropped down about 100metres to the west of the summit to find a suitable spot to camp for the night. The ground around Cadair is very rocky (like a lot of the high peaks of Wales) but we found a spot and pitched the tarps. A few hours in, and after some food, the wind picked up a little (nothing too alarming). I’d replaced the guy lines on my tarp earlier that week and I’d used 2mm cord, which I learnt slips through the line locks, causing the tarp to collapse. I could have engineered a solution by tying the lines off to fix them in place, but we’d discussed sleeping in the boothy that day and it didn’t take much to sway our decision.

So we packed up our kit and made our way back up to the summit in the dark. Arriving at the boothy around 9pm we slept on the stone floor, cold but out of the wind. Temperatures stayed around -4C in the boothy throughout the night.

The next morning we drank coffee and admired the views over towards Barmouth and out to sea. Although in the wind it was approx -13c, so visits outside were only brief. Having snow about made life easy as we didn’t need to search for water and the jetboil made light work of melting through a mug of snow. A couple of early morning walkers joined us in the boothy around 9am, after a short while chatting we said our goodbyes and headed off. The route drops down around 100metres before it climbs back up to on of the other peaks (not sure of the name). The rest of the route gradually descends back to the steps and down to the carpark.

Probably the best winter wild camp so far, the weather was excellent and this was the first time I’ve slept in a boothy and at this altitude. Slightly disappointed that the lines slipped on the line locks of my DuoMid, but it seems this was the perfect time to learn this lesson.

Lessons learnt:

  1. Use 3mm lines when using line locks.
  2. Stop using Wayfarer meals – I’m getting bored of them!

A few photos taken by Tim on his phone and a short video I took on my GoPro. I didn’t film anything on the second day, not sure why…didn’t fancy it.

 

 

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